34 by 35: Wrap Up & Reflection

It’s the last day of my 34th year, one as I’m sure you’ve figured out, was not my favorite year. Dealing with the challenges life was throwing at me made tackling my self-imposed ones far less than desirable. Heck, midway through I didn’t even think I was going to hit half of my 34 by 35. In fact, my “big goals” I’d wanted to hit by 35 are now being pushed out. I felt very stuck a lot of last year, but now I’m ready to move and the goals I’ll be posting shortly reflect that shift.

This is what life starts to look like when I'm close to hitting goals.

This is what life starts to look like when I’m close to hitting goals.

Enough beating myself up though, in the end I managed to accomplish quite a lot and I’m proud of that. Here’s a summary below.

  1. Go one week a month “cash only.”
    FAIL. While a noble goal, this one failed on two counts. First, it’s incredibly difficult to track. Second, in today’s world this is pretty unfeasible. A more realistic one would’ve been to stay within my allowance.
  2. Go to 100 yoga classes before my next birthday.
    SUCCESS! I actually hit this in October and stopped tracking afterward. Feeling really positive about my yoga practice and have found a wonderful community at Yoga Garden. Plus, going on my first yoga retreat last summer? Another notch in my thirtysomething urban dweller card.
  3. Visit at least two of my four remaining states (Arkansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Alaska)
    SUCCESS! Even though it was a rough period in my life, I couldn’t be happier I took my OKARND trip. Exploring my “why would anyone go there?” states each individually was a real adventure and has my mind spinning for future trips, once Alaska’s checked off, of course.
  4. Publish 34 blog posts.
    SUCCESS! I’m quite happy about this one happening, despite a gap in writing between March and July. I ended up hitting publish more than 40 times this year and it feels good to be back. Look for more focused blogging goals next year.
  5. Bike in a different city or town each month.
    SUCCESS*. An asterisk on this one because I amended it to 12 different cities or towns (and am going to stay in that direction instead of monthly/weekly/daily next year). I got to bike in some cool places during my 34th year including Washington D.C., the Marin Headlands, Sausalito, Berlin, Mallorca (including a 40+ mile cycling adventure), Long Beach, Oakland, Chicago (I heart DivvyBikes!), Portland, Maine, New York City, and Munich (through the incredible English Garden).
  6. Pack my lunch at least 2x a week.
    GOOD EFFORT. Another one that was really difficult to track and quite restrictive in its timeframe. The year started horribly on this front, but after I began my CSA it got much better. My homemade lunches often impressed co-workers too. 
  7. Take six friends to 18 Reasons events with me throughout the year.
     This sort of changed to “attend with” not “take,” but it was great sharing food and community with Molly C., Mary Ann, Amber, Lorelle & Chris, and Theresa. A couple of friends actually joined thanks to my prodding!
  8. Read 34 books.
    SUCCESS! Took this one down to the wire, wrapping up (and incurring SFPL fines) Creativity Inc. this week. Thanks to my book club I always read at least one book a month, but hopefully next year I won’t cram seven books into the last month! Favorites from this year of reading included Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn), Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America (Jon Mooallem), Wonder (RJ Palacio), True Grit (Charles Portis), The Interestings (Meg Wolitzer), My Salinger Year (Joanna Rakoff), American Innovations (Rivka Galchen) and my favorite 2014 book, When Mystical Creatures Attack! (Kathleen Founds).
  9. Send 34 cards or letters.
     Likely surpassed this one. I love sending mail so much. You’re welcome, USPS.
  10. Hike in 12 different counties.
    Also probably surpassed after I stopped counting. Hiked in Contra Costa County, San Francisco, Marin County, Billings County (ND), Comanche and Sequoyah Counties in Oklahoma, Garland County (Arkansas), Pollença Region (counting it) in Mallorca, Sonoma County, Mariposa County (Yosemite), San Mateo County and New London County (CT).
  11. Strategically evaluate my volunteer commitments and charitable donations.
    SUCCESS! A totally unmeasurable goal, but I was really good about this over the past year. Joining the Walk San Francisco board sort of naturally caused me to gracefully bow out of other commitments, as did the need to take care of myself during the year’s traumas.
  12. Go to 12 concerts at 12 different venues.
    Not only did I see enough shows to make solid top ten, but I managed to catch music in Tulsa, Berlin, Boston and Brooklyn in addition to the Bay!
  13. Buy something for a stranger once a quarter.
    FAIL. I’m a little too self-conscious to be good at this. But I donate a lot. So maybe I sort of did? Yeah, no…
  14. Watch 12 feature films in 12 different theaters.
    Got to check out a lot of theaters in San Francisco and hit a couple in Portland as well. I also saw far more movies this year than recent ones. I definitely want to continue this trend. Hope to post a Top Ten after getting through the current spate of awards season flicks.
  15. See a different visual arts exhibition at 12 different venues.
    I really enjoyed pursuing this goal. I tried to stop in galleries when traveling or catch bigger exhibits. My favorite, of course, was the David Bowie Is exhibit. I *just* missed it in Berlin, but caught it at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. I also really enjoyed exploring the adorable Paseo Arts District when I visited Oklahoma City.
  16. Finish the San Francisco stairway walks book.
    Got two done at the beginning of the year, then literally lost heart in doing them. Combined with the marathon training eating up half of my weekends this year, this goal failed. Still determined to tackle more next year.
  17. Run the San Francisco marathon.
  18. Go to 12 different beaches.
    Loved wrapping this goal up at the unnamed beach around the corner from my first home in Maine. Hit beaches on the Pacific, Atlantic and Mediterranean and although it didn’t really count, even a swimming hole in Yosemite!
  19. Spend 30 mins or more in a different San Francisco park each month.
    Really hard to measure this one. Revising for next year.
  20. See 12 films at the Roxie.
    I wanted to hit this goal, but schedules, life, etc. always get in the way. I made it to eight and still hope to support this great little theater next year. And of course incredibly glad I went to the Rushmore/Royal Tenenbaums screening there.
  21. Go to an opera, a ballet, a symphony and a play.
    Got to see my friend Emily in an opera (she got to sing “have a cursed Easter”). Took Kat to the Nutcracker in Portland (and ran into our high school friend, James). Went with Mary Ann, Dustin and Chris to see Home Alone livescored by the SF Symphony (with an intro by Chris Columbus!). Saw a couple of plays, including Old Hats with Chris at A.C.T. and Found! The Musical with Yesh in New York. The latter was written and director by her roommate and Marquette alum Danny Pudi was in the cast. Pretty cool.
  22. Go to Yosemite.
     Happily checked this off my list over Labor Day weekend. Huge thanks to Sarah for organizing. A lovely time with her, Molly, Sophia, Alex and Brad, and Michaela and Dave.
  23. Take one detox week a month.
    Five weeks in a craptastic year? Actually more effort than I thought I made. Of course having to do 15+ mile training runs helped with that.
  24. Get one new stamp in my passport.
     Grabbed a couple in Copenhagen and Frankfurt. Not entirely new, but fresh ink counts. I did hit a new country though, but thanks to a borderless EU, I literally walked into Poland last May.
  25. Visit my friends in Long Beach and Sacramento.
     Thanks to Wren to showing me around Long Beach. And always a pleasure to visit the Elton-Green clan in Sacto.
  26. Try 34 different recipes.
    This was looking shaky, but then the CSA started and that worked out pretty dang well.
  27. Go “off the grid” at least one day a month.
    Let’s be real, I live in San Francisco. I did forget my phone for the Paul McCartney concert though. That was kind of nice.
  28. Try a beer from 34 different breweries.
    Beyond complete. I stopped tracking in May. It probably says something about me that I excelled at my beer goal within five months, but struggled detoxing. Okay, we won’t get into that.
  29. Achieve something major professionally.
     I successfully directed my first TYPO SF solo (with the help of a great staff, of course). I landed a brief marketing consulting gig over the summer with Dysonics. And of course, I got to go through my first M&A in July, becoming a part of the fabulous Monotype global marketing team.
  30. Do 34 non-knee pushups in a row.
    I learned that it’s okay to use your knees. But my plank rocks.
  31. Attend games of 3-4 different sports.
    I actually am going to a Warriors game to see my friend Kirstin’s ensemble group, Musae, sing the national anthem…but it’s not until the 23rd. That will complete the goal just a couple of weeks late. I also went to both a Giants AND A’s game, but same sport. I did go to my first San Jose Sharks game. I love hockey, but SJ is just so dang far.
  32. Purge 34 significant items from my life (e.g. books, CDs, clothes).
    I made a couple solid Goodwill runs at the beginning of the year, but this is always hard to track. Plus, I’m going back to Burning Man next year, so the hoarding continues.
  33. Make a list of 34 moments this year that I’m grateful for.
    And thanks past-me for including this.
  34. Lose 15 pounds before 35.
    Although I did gain about 10 pounds during breakup/marathon training and then lost them. So maybe, good effort?

I guess I didn’t do too badly after all, but I’m ready to crush it next year. Stay tuned for the new list tomorrow.


About Meghan A.

creative & professional creative professional | communications, content & community | nasty woman | adventurer & inspiration seeker | bicyclist & feminist | walk san francisco board | current: Adobe Typekit Product Marketing Manager, former: TYPO SF magic maker
This entry was posted in 34 by 35, Brew To Bay and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 34 by 35: Wrap Up & Reflection

  1. Maggie says:

    I find it so hard to turn off the phone, but I did it for one day over the holidays and it felt so good. Find some day when you’re hanging at home (do you ever hang at home for the whole day??) and just put it in the other room. At first, there is panic, but then… quiet. Blissful quiet where you can read and watch TV without distraction. Once a month is lofty, but I’m going to try and do this every 90 days or so.

  2. Pingback: Episode 11: Meghan Arnold - San Francisco People Podcast

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